SCHEDEL, Hartmann (1440-1514). Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg; Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12 July 1493.
Imperial 2o (450 x 310 mm). Collation: [1-26 38; 46 5-74 8-116 122 134 14-166 172 18-196 20-254 26-296 302 316 324 33-356 362 374 38-616] xylographic title, blank, 1/2r index; Creation-Ultimate Age of the World, 54/6v blank, Sarmatian supplement, 55/5v verse on the exploits of Maximilian, 55/6 blank, supplements to the Sixth Age and description of Europe, 61/3v-4r map of Germany, 61/4v colophon, 61/5-6 blank). 326 leaves (of 328, without the two final blancks), ff. CCLVIIII-CCLXI left blank except for printed headlines for readers' manuscript supplements. 64 lines and headline, table and parts of text double column. Types: 9:165G (headings), 15:110bG (text). 1809 woodcut illustrations from 645 blocks (Cockerell's count) by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and their workshop, including the young Albrecht Dürer; the illustrations include 29 double-page town views, 8 full-page cuts and double-page maps of the World [Shirley 19] and of Europe by Hieronymus Münzer after Nicolas Khrypffs. 2- and 3-line printed Lombard initials. 7- to 14-line initial spaces. Unrubricated. (A few minor marginal reapairs.)
19th century calf antique (rebacked, upper cover detached) and silk doublures, bound in is the contemporary pigskin upper cover with ARBOR JESSE-PANEL, DESIGNED FOR THE NUREMBERG CHRONICLE BY WOLGEMUT OR PLEYDENWURFF: at the foot the large recling figure of Jesse asleep, from his breast grows the tree and within its coiled genealogical branches are 15 busts beginning with King David and at the top the Virgin Mary with the Infant Saviour and S. Anne, within a 19th-century calf border, a central circular panel, presuambly left blank for central brass furniture, decorated in gilt. Provenance: C. Inglis (bookplate); George Dunn of Wooley Hall (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. This copy with a PRESENTATION INSCRIPTION BY GEORG PIRCKHEIMER TO HARTMANN SCHEDEL DATED 1496 pasted to the xylographic title "Venerabilis, pater dominus Georgus Pirckeimer prior domus Cartusie in Nurembergn, hunc librum mihi Hartmanno Schedel artium et utriusq. Medicine doctori dono dedit Anno doi. XXCCCCLXXXXVI idibus Augusti." This note was presumably pasted in by Inglis "who loved to cut out tiny engravings, coat-of-arms, monograms, etc., and pasted them on the first or last leaves of his books" (De Ricci p.97). He probably also pasted in the bookplate of Joachim Lochner, Nuremberg "Ioachimi Lochneri, Bibliopolae Norib."
The Nuremberg Chronical is the most richly illustrated book of the 15th century. The publication history is perhaps the best documented of any book printed in the 15th century, owing to the survival of the contract between Koberger and his financial partners Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, the contract between Koberger and the artists, and the manuscript exemplars of both the Latin and German editions, all now preserved in the Nuremberg Stadtbibliothek. The Latin and German editions were planned simultaneously, both using the same woodcuts with slightly different placement and each with a print-run of about 2000 copies; the Latin edition preceded the German by about 5 months. Although the publication was an instant success and engendered several pirated editions, a number of copies of the original editions remained unsold in the hands of booksellers across Europe well into the 16th century. The present copy, having been purchased at Antwerp from the bookseller Johannes Gymnicus, appears to have been one of these.
Albrecht Dürer, godson of Koberger, was apprenticed to Wolgemut from 1486-89, exactly during the period Wolgemut's shop was busy creating the woodcuts for this volume. For Cockerell's analysis of a copy owned by William Morris, and his now traditional count of the woodcuts, cf. P. Needham, William Morris and the art of the book (1976).
E. P. Goldschmidt suggests "that either a Würzburg binder, who got all his tools from Nuremberg, as he very probably would, bought a number of copies of Schedel from Koberger and bound them up for sale in this style, or that this is an original Koberger binding for the Schedel... The big Arbor Jesse panel is never seen on any other book than on copies of Schedel's Chronicle, and indeed by reason both of its size and its design must have been specially engraved for it" (Gothic and Renaissance Bookbindings 38).
HC 14508*; BMC II, 437 (IC. 7451-3); CIBN S-161; Schreiber 5203; Goff S-307.